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Saskatchewan lacking organic food regulations: report
Caitlin Taylor, CTV Saskatoon
Published Wednesday, July 19, 2017 9:24PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, July 19, 2017 9:26PM CST
Some provinces, including Saskatchewan, do not have provincial organic regulation, according to a report released by the Canada Organic Trade Association Monday.
Those who grow and sell products in Saskatchewan can say they are organic even if they are not certified, according to the report.
“I think it’s unfortunate,” Dennis Skoworodko, a certified organic farmer and owner of Our Farm outside of Saskatoon said. “I think protecting the organic label and the integrity of organics is really important.”
There are Canada-wide regulations that prohibit producers from claiming they are organic when they aren’t certified. The laws only apply to producers who sell their products across a border and to those in certain provinces that don’t have their own provincial legislation. Manitoba, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have adopted the national regulations and Quebec has its own legislation. The remainders of the provinces, including Saskatchewan and Ontario, have no regulations in place.
"We would very much like the Saskatchewan government to adopt the Canada organic regime,” Marla Carlton, executive director of Sask Organics told CTV Saskatoon. “We have had discussions with them and we continue with those discussions. We understand that it's a process and a journey.”
But the provincial government says it’s not considering legislation. It believes the federal legislation is enough.
"[The] majority of products, organically, that are produced in Saskatchewan are produced for export outside of our borders, or even outside of Canada,” Penny McCall, executive director of crops and irrigation with the agriculture ministry said.
There are 842 farmers in Saskatchewan who are certified organic primary producers. Skoworodko is one of them and said the process is time consuming, but worth it.
“I wanted to be able to give people that piece of mind that we are organic, not just that we said we are,” he said. “We just wanted to be sure that we can give people that piece of mind that yes, it actually is organic.”
Without the regulations in place, Sask Organics encourages consumers to look for the certification label and to ask questions about where their food comes from.
“It’s so that you have that direct relationship with a farmer and ask them about their farming practices,” Carlton said. “And if they aren’t certified organic and you would like them to be, encourage them to certify.”